A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
Located just 47 miles from New York City, Petra Island is a 10-acre private island in the middle of Lake Mahopac that's shaped like a heart. What makes the site truly unique though, is that it includes a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed guest house and a home that's based on a Wright design.

However, the property has seen its fair share of controversy.  In fact, Petra Island is not officially recognized by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Read on to learn the whole story.

A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 1 of 14 - The main house on Petra Island sits on the exact site chosen in 1949 by Frank Lloyd Wright himself. 

The main house on Petra Island sits on the exact site chosen in 1949 by Frank Lloyd Wright himself. 

Frank Lloyd Wright was originally commissioned by A. K. Chahroudi in 1949 to build a home on the private island, but Wright's original plans for the main structure were never built after the budget fell through. Ultimately, Wright ended up only constructing a modest 1,200-square-foot guest cottage on the island. 

It wasn't until 1996 (after Wright's passing in 1959), when Joseph Massaro purchased Petra Island, that Wright's designs would come to be realized. Massaro hired Thomas Heinz, an architect and Wright scholar, to finally construct the main house from Wright's original plans on the exact location he had chosen for the structure back in 1949. The 5,000-square-foot home, now known as the Massaro House, was constructed with the help of software to model portions of the original design that were not clear from Wright's renderings. Heinz also took some liberties with the design by updating the home with some modern amenities—all reasons which led to the home's rejection from the Wright Foundation. 

A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 2 of 14 - Signature Wright details include the home's integration into the site's natural surroundings.

Signature Wright details include the home's integration into the site's natural surroundings.

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation President & CEO Stuart Graff explains why homes are recognized, or not, as works of Frank Lloyd Wright: 

"Frank Lloyd Wright rarely built exactly what was drawn on paper. Indeed, the essence of his work was to respond to conditions, materials, and opportunities that came about as a result of the specific site for which any design was uniquely drawn. There was an evolution of the design during construction. Wright was obviously not involved in the contraction of designs built after his death, and unable to complete the design process. For that reason, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation believes unbuilt works should remain unbuilt, and that buildings constructed based on Wright’s drawings should only be referred to as 'based on' or 'inspired by' Frank Lloyd Wright designs." 

A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 3 of 14 - The home features the largest cantilever deck ever planned out by the architect.

The home features the largest cantilever deck ever planned out by the architect.


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 4 of 14 - The home is anchored by stone pillars that support thick horizontal planes.

The home is anchored by stone pillars that support thick horizontal planes.

That being said, signature Wright details seem to still prevail throughout the abode. Beyond the site's integration into nature, inspiration from the iconic architect's ethos is evident in the inclusion of a large cantilevered deck, the African mahogany woodwork based on Wright’s specifications, six wood-burning fireplaces, the exterior use of desert masonry, and an extensive use of glazing that offers stunning views from every vista. 

This property is now on the market for $14,920,00 through Chilton & Chadwick.

A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 5 of 14 - Large windows wrap around the home's exterior, offering stunning views from every room. It also features six wood-burning fireplaces. 

Large windows wrap around the home's exterior, offering stunning views from every room. It also features six wood-burning fireplaces. 


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 6 of 14 - Additional light is brought into the living space by a series of triangular skylights. 

Additional light is brought into the living space by a series of triangular skylights. 


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 7 of 14 - The main house features African mahogany woodwork based on Wright’s specifications.

The main house features African mahogany woodwork based on Wright’s specifications.


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 8 of 14 - Exterior of the guest house. 

Exterior of the guest house. 


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 9 of 14 - Interior of the guest house.

Interior of the guest house.


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 10 of 14 - The private island getaway is located just 47 miles from New York City. 

The private island getaway is located just 47 miles from New York City. 


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 11 of 14 - The use of desert masonry is another signature feature inspired by Wright. 

The use of desert masonry is another signature feature inspired by Wright. 


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 12 of 14 - The 1,200-square-foot guest house.

The 1,200-square-foot guest house.


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 13 of 14 - An aerial view of the heart-shaped island.

An aerial view of the heart-shaped island.


A Home on a Private Island That's Based on a Frank Lloyd Wright Design Is on the Market For $14.9M - Photo 14 of 14 - The home extends over the rocky shore of the island in a way that's reminiscent of Wright's Fallingwater.  

The home extends over the rocky shore of the island in a way that's reminiscent of Wright's Fallingwater.